The 11th China Goes Global 2017 conference, Kristiansand, Norway
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

The 11th annual China Goes Global conference (CGG 2017) took place between 15-17 June at the University of Agder, in Kristiansand, Norway. I was last at this conference in 2014 [1, 2] in Shanghai, where this year’s gathering in Kristiansand, Norway, provides yet another splendid opportunity and platform for networking and the exchange of ideas on internationalisation processes related to China and the Chinese context.

On the Horten-Moss Bastø Fosen ferry, headed towards Kristiansand, Norway, for the China Goes Global 2017 conference.
Uncertain if “no iceberg ahead!” can be construed as positive these days.

With about twenty track themes [3] ranging from international business contexts and theories to management and innovation processes, this year’s general focus of the conference can be described as broad and encompassing. Current global politics, and the unfolding events of international relations between the US and China and its resounding impact on international relations in general makes for interesting times. I personally found many engaging topics and presentations to cover, the physical presence of which was confined by the four parallel sessions over the relatively short conference days.

15-17 Jun, China Goes Global (CGG) 2017 conference group photo.
The group is standing together with Karl-Heinz Frank Reichert (front row, center), Dean of the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.

The conference opening speeches were presented by Harald Furre, Mayor of Kristiansand Municipality and Karl-Heinz Frank Reichert, Rector and Professor at the University of Agder. The Nordic countries were amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. While Norway’s modern diplomatic relations officially began in 1950, the first Norwegian diplomatic mission was founded in 1851 during the union of Sweden and Norway, and established in Guangzhou, China. Historically, Sino-Norwegian trade relations have generally been friendly. These relations took a souring turn when in 2010, Norway announced its 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Liu Xiaobo, upon which China issued economic sanctions in the form of restricting salmon imports from Norway as indication of its discontent [4, 5]. Normalization of bilateral ties began in Dec. 2016 with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi holding talks with Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Beijing [6].

The keynote speakers this year included Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem AS. Aasen presentation focused on Chinese Ownership and Growth Strategy from the corporate perspective of Elkem AS, sharing with the audience some learning points from the corporation on how to do business in China. Keynote speaker David Zweig who is Chair Professor, of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technolog, spoke about China’s energy investments both local and global. He also covered China’s strategy for their talent management, in bringing home China’s foremost talents after studies abroad. Tao Jingzhou, of Dechert LLP Beijing, is the Managing Partner responsible for developing the Asia Practice of the firm. His keynote speech during the event’s gala dinner focused on his more than 30 years experience of being advisor to the numerous Fortune 500 companies on international mergers and acquisitions, arbitration and corporate matters involving China.

In terms of event organization and planning, personally, I thought the grounds of the University of Agder a beautiful architectural space for CGG 2017. Filled with self-service coffee stations and cozy study corners for students, the hallways of the School of Business and Law at the University are constructed to let in as much Nordic light as possible, the construct of which provided a conducive environment for the gathering of like minds of interest in exchange of knowledge and information. Comfortable, bordering on luxurious with artisan water sponsored by Voss water from the Aust-Agder county, CGG 2017 held in Norway certainly gave a different flavour and perspective from when I last participated in 2014 in Shanghai, on China’s evolving global role.

Visiting Kristiansand, one can also certainly see why for the 13th consecutive year, Norway has ranked as a country with one of the highest standards of living, life expectancy and education [7].

Harald Furre, Mayor of Kristiansand municipality, China Goes Global 2017 conference.

Karl-Heinz Frank Reichert, rektor, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway, at his address speech at the China Goes Global 2017 conference.

Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem AS, in his keynote speech at the China Goes Global 2017 conference.

All things technical – behind-the-scene at session 2.2.

William Hua Wang, chairing the session 2.2 on Negotiation, Language and Culture at the China Goes Global 2017 conference.
Prof. Wang is Associate Dean, EMLyon, Dean, EMLYON Asia, French Dean, Asia Europe Business School, France.

Paper presentation on the impact of Chinese diaspora to Singapore in the 1800s on new English variety, Singapore Colloquial English (SCE), by Cheryl Marie Cordeiro at session 2.2 at the China Goes Global 2017 conference.

A favourite illustration of mine on Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) by Tom Pepinsky, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Government Department at Cornell University, USA. This sentence construct in SCE encompasses and illustrates in essence, the heteroglossic qualities of Singapore’s English linguascape.

Ilan Alon, President, Chinese Globalisation Association (CGA), Professor of Strategy and International Marketing at the University of Agder (UiA), Norway, and visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), China.

Karl-Heinz Frank Reichert, rektor, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway, China Goes Global 2017 conference.

This tall ship is one of Norway’s heritage vessels that together with Statsrad Lehmkuhl and Christian Radich, makes the “Great Trio of Norway”. Built in 1927 in Kristiansand, Sørlandet is one of the world’s oldest fully rigged ship that lives out at sea.

Sightseeing with M/S Maarten.

View from the Horten-Moss Bastø Fosen ferry.

Christianssands Bryggeri or CB (Kristiansand’s Brewery).
Founded in 1856 by consul Ole Jacob Mørch in Kristiansand, Norway, it has since 1999, been part of Hansa Brewery in Bergen and Borg Bryggerier in Sarpsborg, that makes Hansa Borg Bryggerier AS, the second largest group of breweries in Norway, next to Carlsberg.

[1] Cordeiro, C. M. (2014). China Goes Global 2014. Distinguishing between international and global societies, valuing many systems within one system of global trade: the case of Sweden and China in the 1700s. Internet resource at Retrieved 18 Jun. 2017.
[2] Cordeiro, C. M. (2014). China Goes Global 2014, Visit to ZTE Corporation, Shanghai. Internet resource at Retrieved 18 Jun. 2017.
[3] China Goes Global 2017, Call for Papers. Internet resource at Retrieved 18 Jun. 2017.
[4] Sverdrup-Thygeson, B. (2015). The Flexible Cost of Insulting China: Trade Politics and the “Dalai Lama Effect”. Asian Perspective, 39(1), 101-123.
[5] Chen, X. & Garcia, R. (2016). Economic sanctions and trade diplomacy: Sanction-busting strategies, market distortion and efficacy of China’s restrictions on Norwegian salmon imports. China Information, 30(1), 29-57.
[6] FMPRC (2016). Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Borge Brende of Norway, 2016/12/19. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (FMPRC). Internet resource at Retrieved 18 Jun. 2017.
[7] Garfield, L. (2017). The 11 best countries to live in around the world, Business Insider, Nordic, 27 Mar. 2017. Internet resource at Retrieved 18 Jun. 2017.